I am very lucky and very grateful to NATCCO my Credit Union family in the Philippines for allowing and supporting me to be part of the workshop, to ICULDEF for choosing me from the many cooperators around the world who applied to be one of their Pell Scholars and ACCU for seeing my potential and giving me the opportunity to be part of the ACDE Batch 23 Development Educator Workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand.
The experience and being mentored by the most respected Development Educators from different parts of the world has given me the opportunity to enhance my understanding about the value of cooperation. It also increased my appreciation of other credit unions around the world on their passion and cultural values and allowed me to develop my confidence to share, perform and enhance my other capabilities that are outside my current knowledge and skill.
In our co-operative principle of "people helping people" Information Technology is one of the best innovations we can use to share the knowledge we have worldwide. And as an IT person for 15 years it made me realize my purpose - why I am staying and working in a credit union. Proud to be a cooperator!
Having been involved as a volunteer within the credit union movement for the last 29 years, I'm serving as Chair of Jubilee Tower Credit Union, a position I have held since first registration on 15 Feb 1996. I've also been in a part time paid position with JTCU for the last five years (since the retirement of our General Manager) undertaking a range of roles including administration and front of house duties, in addition to my strategic focus as chair.
Jubilee Tower is a forward thinking credit union always looking for ways to develop services to meet the needs of our owner members and prospective owner members. I am grateful for my Pell Scholarship as by attending the ACDE course in Bangkok, I hope to expand my knowledge of the possibilities around product and service development and to gain more insight into credit union activitity internationally and also to be able to introduce additional ideas, including those around how to generate the greater involvement of our owner members (something we have found challenging to date) within Jubilee Tower Credit Union.
I was encouraged by past DE graduates as well as the President of my Credit Union, Mr. Dorwin Manzano, who is in fact an I-CUDE to apply for this Bursary. It is noteworthy that the funds saved via the award of the Bursary is intended to facilitate my Credit Union, UWI Credit Union (UWICU), to sent two participants to the Canada DE Programme this year instead of one (1). Due to the prevailing economic climate, as a body the UWICU is mindful of the need to make wise financial decisions.
Notwithstanding this, we do value the training afforded by the DE Programmes and would like to continue to actively participate in same.
Attending this course will enable me to gain a wider perspective of the credit union's principles and philosophies - especially in relation to how they are interpreted by other cultures. The interaction with this international audience will enable me to give and receive ideas on how credit unions can implement strategies to better fulfil their role in the achievement of the UN Development Goals endorsed by WOCCU. Back home, I will use the knowledge gained to advise other credit unions across the Caribbean region on how they can adopt and tailor the aforementioned strategies towards the betterment of the lives of their members who are at the core of the "Onion".
One of my post graduate projects will be the development of a fully integrated automated financial reporting and management information system for credit unions. This will enable credit union leaders and governers to access relevant financial reports in a timely, cost-effective and user-friendly manner.
Africa DE was a phenomenal training that I couldn't have made work without the assistance from the ICULD&EF.
ADE was extremely worth my time. For me, it gave me confidence in working internationally. The overall message of ADE is that credit unions/savings & credit co-ops are poised to make a huge difference in the lives of people on the continent of Africa. Attending Africa SACCO Development Educators (ADE) provided me with a foundation for future work in Africa.
My first project in Africa - I am planning a trip to Kenya in June with a team of Oklahoma educators to help Kenya Police SACCO with some of their outreach. This project will include working with students (helping students read and learn math), teachers (providing professional development), and administration (facilitating a strategic planning session) at Don Bosco Special School in Likuyani, Kenya as well as providing training to credit union staff on community outreach. Don Bosco serves students with physical disabilities, the children of small-scale farmers.
(Photo - George Ombado, ADE Course Director presenting Brent with his "Pell Scholar" certificate at the GAC CUDE lunch Feb 2018)
The course greatly increased my knowledge of global and current issues facing Credit Unions and I was able to contribute a perspective as a credit union from the UK, one committed to continuous improvement and serving more people. From my previous DE course I know the opportunity to network and exchange ideas will generate new ideas, perspectives and ways of working I can apply in Salford and hopefully some of our local practice will be of interest to others.
On a personal level the course helped to build my confidence and technique around presentations, working in teams and working under pressure. The opportunity to do this training in Asia was amazing - improving my awareness and appreciation of different cultural values.
“I am confident that attending the Development Education Workshop will offer me the opportunity to enhance my understanding of this value of cooperation, increase my appreciation of different cultural values and allow me to develop my confidence to perform in areas outside my current knowledge and skill.
It is with great pleasure that I accept my nomination to attend the Asian confederation Development Educator course in Bangkok, Thailand, to learn more and get educated on credit unions on a global level and also interact with my fellow counterparts across the world.
My first project is to share the knowledge gained from this training with my mother credit union/employer to enable my colleagues to improve in their areas of work. Secondly Kenya is full of small lending and investment groups and I am a member of several; I will take the initiative to drive change in these groups and try to improve the living standards of the group members.
"As the Credit and Human Resource Manager, this course will provide insight into the best practices within the sector which can then be tailored to suit our Credit Union for the now as well as its future growth. Networking with my peers will be invaluable for both my personal development and that of the Credit Union.
I have not attended a CaribDe course previously, but would like to utilize my love of teaching into an ongoing training course with emphasis on the small business sector. Thank you for considering me for the assistance towards my further development."
"I am expressing overwhelming gratitude for your generous contribution towards my participation at the CanadaDE/CaribDE event. It certainly would have been more financially challenging without your support. The entire DE experience has been enlightening and the information and networking bonds will help my team in making great strides toward successfully launching the credit union movement in Anguilla. Thank you for your commitment towards the education program and I am now extremely energized to remain committed to the credit union movement and its principles.
Credit unionism and its benefits are not known to much of the populace in my country. We are the only country in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union that does not have an open credit union. The value and benefits of credit unions will be propagated so that credit unionism becomes an integral part of Anguilla's culture when it comes to micro-financing."
“The experience was more than I expected, It was simply fantastic. The knowledge we garnered was an eye opener and I now appreciate more, the importance and relevance our Credit Union movement has on the world. My passion for this movement was solidified by the knowledge and expertise brought by our facilitators Carla, Melvin, Martin, Vera, David and Martin, They ensured we understood what we have to do strategically to remain relevant and sustainable to our valued members. Once again thank you for investing in us.”
Summary of Patrice’s article for the “cudexdigest” of May 29, 2017
After visiting the Runaway Bay All Age School in Jamaica in March 2017, CaribDE25 embarked on a project to assist the students as there was an evident need for socks for some students. Spearheading this initiative, Gregory Yearwood from Barbados emotionally articulated how insignificant socks may be for many, yet there were students without socks for school. With contributions from the class approximately 73 dozen pairs of socks were purchased, giving each student 2 pairs. Tanya Brown (CaribDE10), Zemmar Bennett (CaribDE16) and I made the journey on May 12 to St. Ann's Bay from Kingston and, met by Mr. Billings from First Regional Co-operative Credit Union, the socks were presented to the school’s principal Mr. Pearson.
On behalf of my CaribDE 25 class, thanks again to all our facilitators for motivating us in doing good in our neighbourhood and country by practicing and living the co-operative principle of "people helping people".
“The experience of CaribDE 25 was and still is, simply mind blowing. The concept and application of 'People helping People' has transformed lives across the world:creating financial stabily, improving health and education standards, engendering peace of mind, from generation to generation. This is the core of the movement and I am humbled to be a part of it. I am indeed inspired and rejuvenated........my journey continues.”
My mother credit union is the apex organization of Myanmar Co-operative Movement, known as Central Co-operative Society (CCS). CCS and CB Bank (Co-operative Bank) in Yangon, with a total of over 1000 staff. To assist the welfare and financial difficulties of these staff, the CCS Savings and Credit co-operative was formed in 2007.
In Myanmar, there are over 1800 financial co-operatives including Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies, Bazaar Credit Co-operative Societies and Microfinance Institutions. Among these financial co-operatives, CCS Savings and Credit Co-operative is considered a successful society. We have plans for a hire purchase scheme to include household equipment, cars and maybe in time, we may be able to introduce purchasing of low cost housing. To be successful in these endeavors our Board of Directors and staff are doing their utmost for perfection and I am most grateful for the ICULD&E Foundation’s assistance that enabled me to attend ACDE, giving me new skills to aid our goal.
"What an honor it was to be selected as a Pell Scholar. Thank you to Barry and Marilynne Epstein for this incredible opportunity and for providing such a top notch bursary program. You guys are an asset to the Credit Union world and the exemplary work you've done is an inspiration to the rest of us".
"What a whirlwind and wonderful week! Thank you again, so much, for the opportunity, the support, and the friendship you extended to me during the ACDE program. I’m tickled to death to have had this experience and it’s all thanks to the two of you. I’ve been having flashbacks of our fun times in Bangkok. Somehow, it seems like a lifetime ago, already. What a wonderful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life."
“I gained so much on a personal level from DE Asia and am really pleased to be able to use this to develop my role in the credit union and to develop growth in the organization and share my experience to support the credit union movement locally in Wales and nationally in the UK. I really wish everyone here could participate in the DE Asia course but someone has to make sure the credit union is still open for business!”
Email from Christina on her first day back at work on her return from Bangkok …..“Good news - got a meeting with the local authority to discuss my proposal (to secure monthly leisure facilities membership for owner-members with a 75% discount for 6 months) and buy in from the board to progress and report back. I don't think that's too shabby considering I don't know what day it is or what time!”
"I had a great time with all of you in Bangkok. Actually, your words inspire me to do the best and to improve our coops. Last three days, I went to some villages to collect base line data for “We Effect” project. I am also working as a coordinator for Strengthening of Rural Cooperatives Project which is in collaboration with “We Effect” (Swedish Cooperative Center).
During the field visit, I met with BODs of Coops and some farmer members in the meeting. I collected information and I told them about my brief of Savings and Lending. They are from agriculture cooperative, not in Savings and Credit coop, so, I had a chance to share my knowledge. I highly appreciate the ICULD&E Foundation and all the excellent mentors on ACDE."
"Through my ADE program, I learnt a lot on how to give back to the community. One of my projects is to carry out Financial Literacy mentorship among women and youth, I want to partner with an organization of university students called AISEC to see if we can work together.
From the expertise I gained at ACDE, with your guidance and my fellow colleagues, Paul and Ann at Stima-SACCO, I am sure I will be able to carry out more projects which impact positively to the community I serve. I truly miss your wisdom and immense contribution you have made in the past years, do continue with the good work of mentoring the future leaders in this great movement."
"I am now back at the office sharing with my colleagues (both from the office and movement) the good ideas I learnt from the 19th Asian Credit Union Development Education Workshop. I must say my scope of understanding the movement is more widened than ever courtesy of "Pell" scholarship. The ideas received were insightful and touching, which make me acknowledge that as players in the movement we have three duties; a duty to promote the movement, a duty to make the movement efficient and a duty to make leaders in our societies appreciate the important role played by the co-operatives all for the simple but powerful reason of empowering the economically vulnerable membership."
"Thank you very very much for giving me this opportunity, now I am a "DE" and a "Pell Scholar", I feel so honored, but I also have a new responsibility. I will try my best to attend the credit union movement in China, and I hope in the near future we can share more experience with our credit union family in the world, let us become more. You know, you (Barry) and Marilynne accompany us in the day and the night all the time. What I have learnt from you is not just your knowledge and experience but your spirit inspired me more and more."
"Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards the ICULD&E Foundation and ACCU for giving me an opportunity, many would love to have. It’s an opportunity and an experience that money itself cannot buy. I truly feel honored and grateful and a week of memorable experience in UK."
“It was such a great moment we shared and I long for another opportunity to share and be together. I have a number of projects I am running with, including introducing a sharia compliant product for our credit union. A warm appreciation to the trustees of the ICULD&E Foundation, Barry and Marilynne, for extending such opportunities to all deserving candidates and for promoting constant striving for improvement of performance excellence of individual activists in the cooperative movement worldwide.
Quote from Frank Diekmann, Editor of CUtoday and “Biden” Award Judge under the heading “Think you’ve done some good in your career? Prepare to be humbled this holiday”
“As the result of all the work Mbaabu has done, she was a member of the Young African Leadership Initiative, she got to meet with President Obama when he visited Kenya and has also spearheaded the Stima SACCO Women Network Forum. Next up: taking those lessons learned and the concepts incubated inside her own credit union to work with KUSCCO - Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Corporative Society – for wider reach to all cooperatives in Kenya."
"As a DEUK 2010 graduate, having worked to set up the ADE programme and graduate will honour all efforts, the knowledge, skills and practice in Africa can inspire changes for my local credit union and the UK movement as a whole. In addition, attending the programme will broaden my understanding of the current challenges and opportunities as the Africa SACCOS movement is opening up to the international DE network. Encouraging exchange of ideas will be another avenue to explore, and promote the extension of the ADE programme to French speaking countries , most of them currently excluded due to the language and cultural barriers.